Survey: The Top 10 Cities In The World To Be An Expat

Top Destinations For UK Expats

Image of Valencia. Credit: Alexey Fedorenko/

A recent survey has revealed the best, and worst, cities for expats, based on various factors including friendliness, affordability and healthcare.

For those seeking a change of scenery, lifestyle, and warmer weather there is good news.  A report from InterNations has revealed the top destinations for British expats with a Mediterranean gem leading the way.

The Expat Insider survey by InterNations, conducted recently, gathered insights from expatriates globally. Participants assessed their cities on certain aspects such as the cost of living, friendliness and overall quality of life.

Spain emerged as a clear favourite, with four of its cities dominating the top ten rankings out of the 49 countries surveyed worldwide.

The Best From Spain


In the coveted first place was Malaga. A staggering nine out of ten expatriates attested to the warmth of the locals in this Andalucian haven. Its good weather also contributed to its top ranking.

There were so many highlights, among them local friendliness (1st), leisure options (2nd) and general cost of living (1st).


Following closely is Alicante, a hit amongst settlers from the UK thanks to its closeness to Benidorm and the Costa Blanca shores. The city is not only known for its affordability and economical housing but also for its abundant and vibrant social life as enjoyed by many expatriates.

Some recommendations included, good social life (1st), affordable housing (1st) and quality of life (5th).


Completing the top trio of Spain’s finest is Valencia, another seaside city where over 90 per cent of expats expressed contentment with their lifestyle. This city’s blend of urban and beach life appeals to many.

The figures showed, affordable healthcare (1st), access to recreational sports (1st), walking and cycling (3rd)

Top Ten Expat Cities Worldwide

  1. Malaga, Spain
  2. Alicante, Spain
  3. Valencia, Spain
  4. Ras Al Khaimah, UAE
  5. Abu Dhabi, UAE
  6. Madrid, Spain
  7. Mexico City, Mexico
  8. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  9. Bangkok, Thailand
  10. Muscat, Oman

The Worst Cities For Expats

Capitals cities didn’t fair too well with Paris at a disappointing 41st, Berlin in a lowly 45th place and Rome in 48th position.

The last place fell to Milan in 49th place, with expats complaining of bureaucracy (48th), opening a local bank account (44th) and poor wages (49th).

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.